In the Hellenistic period, artists were interested in more than just standard ideal figures. Bronze—surpassing marble with its tensile strength, reflective effects, and ability to hold fine detail—was employed for dynamic compositions, dazzling displays of the nude body, and graphic expressions of age and character.
This image is of an athlete, fresh from competition, with a realistic disheveled head of hair. The finely chiseled strands are swept up and around in different directions creating this dynamic hairstyle.
Now on view in “Power and Pathos” at the Getty Center through November 1.
Statue of an Athlete (Apoxyomenos), A.D. 1-90. Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Antikensammlung. Image courtesy of and © KHM-Museumsverband. Collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities / Ephesos Museum